Excerpt from FDA release 11/26/2018, to see the full released information view it as a web page
....The FDA believes it was critically important to have a “clean break” in the romaine supply available to consumers in the U.S. in order to purge the market of potentially contaminated romaine lettuce related to the current outbreak. This appears to have been accomplished through the market withdrawal request of Nov. 20, 2018.
Therefore, the FDA is issuing the following updated advice as part of our investigation and public warning:
Based on discussions with major producers and distributors, romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with a harvest location and a harvest date. Romaine lettuce entering the market can also be labeled as being hydroponically or greenhouse grown. If it does not have this information, you should not eat or use it.
If consumers, retailers, and food service facilities are unable to identify that romaine lettuce products are not affected – which means determining that the products were grown outside the California regions that appear to be implicated in the current outbreak investigation -- we urge that these products not be purchased, or if purchased, be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.
Romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these sources.
The FDA has urged growers, processors, distributors and retailers to:
- clearly and prominently label all individually packaged romaine products to identify growing region and harvest date for romaine; and
- clearly and prominently label at the point of sale the growing region when it is not possible for romaine lettuce suppliers to label the package (e.g. individual unwrapped whole heads of romaine lettuce available in retail stores).
We hope that growers, processors, distributors and retailers will join us in our effort to protect consumers by applying these labeling recommendations to their products. We remain committed to identifying ways to decrease the incidence and impact of foodborne illness outbreaks, and will continue to provide updates on our investigation and changes to our advice on romaine lettuce as more information becomes available.”
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration